A Critique of the Tertiary Education White Paper

  • Peter Roberts
  • Michael A Peters


This article provides a critical commentary on key features of the long-awaited White Paper on tertiary education (Ministry of Education, 1998). Released in November 1998, the White Paper confirms many of the predictions made in earlier analyses of the Tertiary Education Review Green Paper (Ministry of Education, 1997a). The authors argue that despite claims to the contrary in the document, the White Paper is driven by a privatisation agenda, as evidenced by the favouring of new government subsidies for private training establishments, the decline in EFTS-based research support for public institutions, the introduction of new capital charges, and significant changes in the composition and nature of university Councils. Most worrying of all is the potential for undermining academic freedom and institutional autonomy with the granting of important new powers to the Minister of Education. The almost complete absence of any substantial discussion of information technology issues, identified as a major weakness of the Tertiary Education Review Green Paper, is repeated in the White Paper. The authors conclude that the White Paper represents one of the final steps in a process of incremental neoliberal reform, paving the way, via a far-reaching set of policy and legislative changes, to a fully privatised, consumer-driven tertiary education system.


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Author Biographies

Peter Roberts
Michael A Peters
How to Cite
ROBERTS, Peter; PETERS, Michael A. A Critique of the Tertiary Education White Paper. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], n. 8, feb. 1998. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <https://ojs.victoria.ac.nz/nzaroe/article/view/1366>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2020. doi: https://doi.org/10.26686/nzaroe.v0i8.1366.


Post Secondary Education